Betsy Speicher

"Friends of Atlas Shrugged" tour Grand Central Station

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From the Stamford (CN) Advocate:

'Atlas Shrugged' inspires visitors to Grand Central

By Mark Ginocchio

Staff Writer

Published October 16 2007

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Dan Brucker, media relations officer for Metro-North Railroad, second from left, leads a tour of the substation under Grand Central Terminal in New York last Wednesday for the ‘Friends of Atlas Shrugged.’

L to R: John Ridpath, Dan Brucker, Harry Binswanger, Sandra Schwartz, Peter Schwartz, Cathy Durham Locke, Ed Locke, Arline Mann, Jean Binswanger, Allan Gotthelf.

One of the sights they wanted to see is the rotary converter, at top, used to provide power to the terminal and the railroad before 1988, which is stored in the basement. It is said to have inspired John Galt’s motor in the novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. (Kerry Shreck/For The Advocate)

NEW YORK - Grand Central Terminal provides visitors with frequent train service, dining and shopping options, and to some, the meaning of life.

Some Metro-North Railroad employees say one of mankind's greatest achievements lies in New York City's deepest basement - a rotary power converter that once provided electricity to the entire railroad and to the historic train terminal.

Recently, nine Grand Central visitors got to see the converter close up to compare it with its literary equivalent - John Galt's motor in novelist Ayn Rand's 1957 magnum opus "Atlas Shrugged."

To celebrate the book's 50th anniversary, the visitors, who dubbed themselves "Friends of Atlas Shrugged," a subgroup of the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif., went to Grand Central for an exclusive tour in hopes of seeing some of the philosophical and technological inspirations for the novel.

(Read entire article)

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That's just fantastic! What an exciting tour it must have been.

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Thank you for that, Betsy. It reminded me of the thrill I felt years ago, when not long after reading Atlas I investigated the tracks beneath Grand Central on my own. A sense of excitement and power and dedication to human greatness.

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The area they covered was in part of a segment of the New York City episode of Cities of the Underworld. Very interesting stuff. The power station was so important that in WW2 there were U.S. Army guards posted there with orders to shoot, on sight, any unauthorized visitor coming down the elevator, out of a fear of Nazi sabotage.

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